National Merit Finalists announced March 23, 2010 — by Tiffany Tung Permalink Out of the 1.5 million high school juniors who take the PSAT every year, the top scoring 16,000 students are given the status of Semifinalist. From there, based on academic achievement and other factors, these 16,000 students are whittled down into 15,000 students, or the top 1 percent, who are then named National Merit Finalists.Out of the 1.5 million high school juniors who take the PSAT every year, the top scoring 16,000 students are given the status of Semifinalist. From there, based on academic achievement and other factors, these 16,000 students are whittled down into 15,000 students, or the top 1 percent, who are then named National Merit Finalists. Of this year’s 300 or so graduating seniors, 27 gained the status of Semifinalists. To be a Finalist, Semifinalists must also send a recommendation letter from an administrator or counselor and write an essay. During late February, 24 of the Semifinalists were notified that they had become Finalists, making them eligible for one of the many scholarship awards offered. “When we got the Semifinalist notification, we had to fill out forms saying our top choices out of a list of colleges,” said senior Stephanie Tung. “I put USC as my top choice, and since I’m a finalist, if I get in, I get a scholarship for half the tuition, which is basically equivalent to the cost of going to a UC.” Aside from the college scholarships, each Finalist is also put in the running for $2,500 single payment scholarships, which are rewarded by each state. “Saratoga High School is fortunate to have a number of students who strive to perform at their best. We are also fortunate to have a number of families who appreciate the value of education and talented teachers who impart that education,” said assistant principal Brian Safine. “When family and peer expectations are set at a high level, the measurable academic results are high.” This year’s National Merit Finalists are: Steven Hong, Vivian Hsiao, Vickie Huang, Rishabh Jethanandani, Eric Jung, Annie Lee, Steven Lee, Tammy Lian, Maggie Lin, Diana Lu, Vicki Ni, Varun Parmar, Edward Saavedra, Alice Shen, Sonia Siganporia, Ashwin Siripurapu, Joseph Stevens, Charles Sun, Stephanie Tung, Rolland Wu, Brandon Yang, Kevin Yao and Erika Ye.